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Slain officer tried to subdue suspect with stun gun before shooting

Alleged gunman held without bond
Officer Marcus McNeil, 29, was killed in the line of duty on Oct. 13.

NEW ORLEANS -- The man accused of killing Officer Marcus McNeil shot him after McNeil tried to subdue him with a stun gun, according to court records.

A warrant for Darren Bridges, 30, says he fired “several” shots at McNeil during a fight with the officer about 12:15 a.m. Friday near Tara Lane and Lake Forest Boulevard in New Orleans East.

The warrant did not specify why Bridges was stopped. Police have only said McNeil and three other officers made an “observation” before the shooting happened.

Bridges, who was wounded by at least one of the other officers who returned fire, was booked Saturday on a count of first-degree murder of a police officer in connection with the death of McNeil, as well as drug and gun charges, according to Orleans Parish jail records.

He was being held without bond on the murder charge, which carries life in prison or the possibility of the death sentence if he’s convicted of that crime.

Bail for the rest of the counts added up to $375,000.

The warrant says McNeil was dressed in an NOPD tactical uniform, instead of the regular uniform with its power-blue shirt officers use when on patrol.

A video of the moments before the shooting shows Bridges and McNeil alone, according to the warrant.

Moments after the men began to fight, Bridges dropped a backpack and McNeil used is Taser on the suspect, the warrant says.

“The Taser appeared ineffective and the physical struggle to gain control of Bridges continued,” Sgt. David Barnes wrote in the warrant.

“Several” gunshots are heard during the struggle, Barnes wrote, and McNeil could be heard screaming. “There was a momentary pause, then a single gunshot and no further response from the officer,” the warrant continues.

McNeil's gun was still in his holster when officers finally made it to his side. Paramedics rushed him to University Medical Center, where he died.

Bridges then ran away, still armed, and was met by another officer, according to the warrant.

At that point the officer shot Bridges multiple times. He ran to an apartment in the 6800 block of Cindy Place and used a key to get inside, the warrant says.

He remained holed up inside the apartment for hours before he surrendered to SWAT officers, who arrested him before he was rushed to University Medical Center to be treated for his gunshot wounds.

Police found the clothes Bridges wore during the shooting inside the apartment with the Taser probes from McNeil’s stun gun still in them, according to the warrant.

The gun Bridges was seen using in surveillance video was also found inside the apartment, the warrant says.

Officers found a bag of crack-cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, and alprazolam pills inside the bag Bridges threw aside during the struggle with McNeil, according to the warrant.

Bridges' attorney, Capital Defense Project director Kerry Cuccia, said it was too early for him to be able to comment on his client's case, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

Bridges has an extensive criminal history dating back to at least 2004, including more than a dozen arrests and at least three guilty pleas.

Most recently in Orleans Parish, he pleaded guilty in 2012 to attempted possession of a firearm by a felon and received a prison sentence of 6½ years.

McNeil joined the city's police force as a recruit in 2014 and spent his entire career in the 7th District, authorities said. His survivors include his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 5.

All Whitney Bank branches are accepting donations for a benefit fund supporting McNeil's family, police said. The account is titled the "Marcus McNeil Benefit Fund."

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